Ropes and baskets: Case studies from Lanyu, Taiwan and the Batanes, the Philippines
Céline Kerfant 范瑟琳 Ph. D. Candidate
2018 CCS Grant Scholar
Field of Study：
Vegetal materials are central to many human activities from daily life to exceptional events. This is obvious in tropical areas where plants are the most diversified, but it is also well-known that organic artefacts decay faster in tropical soil. This research project aims first at improving the interpretation of archaeobotanical remains by creating a reference collection from present-day ethnography and botany data. Thus, it aims at providing a better knowledge of basketry traditions and the plant-based raw materials that were used for this craft in ancient Southeast Asia who is considered such as one of the most important domestication center of many useful plants. The Philippines, with more than 7000 islands, host numerous endemic plant species. Taiwan is the only big island that straddles on the tropique of the Cancer (Li 1953) and presents a peculiar context as it is of tropical and subtropical climates. These islands preserve a great variety of fiber-producing plants, some are present on both countries while others are not. This work focuses on Batanes and Lanyu islands that are isolated by deep sea and this implies a high degree of endemism of plant taxa. The selection made upon textile plants by Ivatan (Batanes) and Yami-Tao (Lanyu) people, especially those which are endemics or naturalized, could be highly significant of human-plant relationship through times (Barrau 1966). Moreover, as many plants cannot cross water they are of great interest to better trace contact between cultures (Paz 2005).